Monday, December 14, 2015

Modern Building Systems Effect on Modern Building Design

The development of modern building systems like HVAC and potable water had a major impact on the character of architectural design. Never before had the architect been asked to design sophisticated ventilation networks or heavy structural countermeasures. Increasingly complex public health and building safety were the pressures driving these changes and each was absent from the minds of Greco-Roman and Renaissance architects et al.

The need for interdisciplinary collaboration nor articles calling for its implementation are anything new. The linked article makes a strong point near the end of the piece arguing BIM establishes just such functionality but first the bad: There is little effort on the part of the author to analyze current obstacles to collaboration. In my experience designers, consultants, and contractors on a project - each fundamentally necessary to its completion - can be downright hostile to each other. Certainly there is enough blame to go around for this situation, nor can this behavior be assumed to be universal but in the meantime, it must be said, the article sheds little light on why collaboration fails in AEC projects.

Where I do express agreement is that - at least technologically – as building information modelling has matured collaboration has improved. This has allowed different disciplines to offer and receive accurate information earlier in the building design process leading to fundamentally more valuable buildings.  Quoted in the article, Andrea Scotti, director of Burohappold Engineering in Abu Dhabi, explains BIM's role in collaboration thusly: “In terms of difficult projects to coordinate on, I would say that a few years ago this would have been technical in nature, related to complex structures or geometry. Nowadays, technology is there to help reduce these complexities.” 

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